Clearer Water Irish Cup: Larne and Ballyclare progress to quarter-finals

Larne and Ballyclare Comrades made it through to the last eight of the Clearer Water Irish Cup thanks to wins over Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts respectively.
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Tiernan Lynch’s charges won 5-0 against the Lurgan Blues at Inver Park to set up a quarter-final clash with Playr-Fit Championship side Newington.

Lee Bonis scored a hat-trick (37, 42 and 76) and Andy Ryan got a brace (51 and 60) to ensure the reigning Sports Direct Irish Premiership champions and recently crowned Co Antrim Shield winners progressed comfortably to the last eight of the cup.

Speaking to the club’s media director Ian Cahoon after Saturday’s clash, coach Gary Haveron said: “In cup football, you’re just glad to get into the next round.

Andy Ryan found the net twice to help Larne FC progress to the Irish Cup quarter-finals. (Pic: Pacemaker Press).Andy Ryan found the net twice to help Larne FC progress to the Irish Cup quarter-finals. (Pic: Pacemaker Press).
Andy Ryan found the net twice to help Larne FC progress to the Irish Cup quarter-finals. (Pic: Pacemaker Press).

"In the first 25 minutes it was difficult. They played like a team with nothing to lose. They pressed and moved men forward, but in moving men forward, Lee Bonis and Andy Ryan punished them for that.

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"Newington in the next round is a difficult draw. People will be thinking avoiding the Premiership teams is an obvious one and getting a home draw is what you’re always wanting, but Newington will be tough. They’ve been playing out of Inver this year, so they’ll be no strangers to the pitch. They’re a strong team and they’ll get every respect from us and we’ll prepare the same way as we did for Glenavon.

"We’ve to just keep ploughing on. Momentum is massive at this stage of the season. We want the next game to come quickly and keep getting the three points in the league or into the next round in the cup and moving onto the next one.

Stephen Small. (Pic: Ballyclare Comrades).Stephen Small. (Pic: Ballyclare Comrades).
Stephen Small. (Pic: Ballyclare Comrades).

"We’ve 11 more games now and potentially three more in the Irish Cup. That’s our aim and our target.”

Meanwhile, in the tie at Stangmore Park, Ballyclare Comrades scored three times in the final 21 minutes to win 3-2 against Dungannon Swifts and set up a quarter-final match at The Oval against Glentoran.

Cahal McGinty had put the home side ahead on 36 minutes. Gary Donnelly levelled the game on 69, but the Swifts went ahead again through Thomas Maguire on 74.

Alan McMurtry made it 2-2 on 76 minutes before Darius Roohi turned the match around with five minutes of normal time remaining to send the travelling support into raptures and put the Comrades into the last eight.

Speaking to Ballyclare’s media officer Zoe Tisdale after the game, manager Stephen Small stated: “It’s magnificent. We made it to the quarter-finals last season, but I think this year was tougher as we played Premiership opposition in the sixth round and we came through with flying colours.

"It was a really good game of football. We had a game plan and the players carried out the instructions to a tee.

"It was a really good performance in the second half and I think we fully deserved our victory for the second half performance. Everyone was pulling in the one direction today and it was a really good team performance. I’m delighted for everybody at the club.

"The fans were outstading today. There’s a real bond starting to happen. I’m proud of every player and every supporter and I’m glad to represent the club.”

The quarter-final ties are set to be played on March 2.